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Kiribati

Pacific being ripped off over fishing

Kiribati has gone ahead with the hosting of the 19th Forum Fisheries Agency’s Fisheries Committee meeting despite withdrawing from the Pacific Islands Forum.

Kiribati Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources Development Ribanataake Tiwau was appointed the chair. The idea that Pacific should start controlling its supply of tuna and dictating its own price was mooted by the chair.

The Pacific remains the world’s biggest source of tuna with half of the world’s supply from the region.

The Pacific Ocean sits within the equatorial belt of the Western and Central Pacific also referred as a tuna corridor where Skipjack, Yellowfin, Bigeye and Albacore tuna catch has been valued at US$6 billion in catch value.

The end value of the global value of tuna is estimated to be around US$40 billion and the Pacific island nations get to see very little of this money.

The Pacific remains the world’s biggest source of tuna with half of the world’s supply from the region. Picture: Forum Fisheries Agency

Mr Tiwau said it was about time the Pacific came up with strategies that would allow them to control their own tuna stocks.

“We have the means to fully maximise our social and economic benefits from our tuna resources, along the tuna value chain,” he said.

“Among our membership, we have those with a fishing, processing, marketing and trading capacity. What is needed is a complementary approach that will pool in those advantages for the benefit of us all.”

The Forum Fisheries Agency and its members have put measures in place to allow fisheries stock including tuna to be sustainable.

The Agency also holds agreements with nations like the United States who get their tuna quota from the Agency, allowing sustainable practices to follow.

Inspection of a fishing vessel in the Pacific. Picture Forum Fisheries Agency

It was also highlighted at the meeting that fishing contracts made by individual nations were where the majority of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing took place.

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Forum Fisheries General, Dr Tupou-Roosen thanked the Kiribati Government for its warm hospitality and support.

“We are very grateful to the vice president of Kiribati, Dr Teuea Toatu for his valuable time and for graciously hosting our FFA Ministers, Officials, staff and our partners at a welcome dinner,” she said.

“It is such an honour to be here in Kiribati for our first annual Forum Fisheries Committee and Regional Fisheries Ministers Meeting in person in over two years.”

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